Cape Town - Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Oupa Mohoje, and has therefore opted to name him on the bench for their clash against the Blue Bulls.
The eight-Test capped Springbok utility forward was this week released to the Cheetahs after failing to make South Africa's final 31-man Rugby World Cup squad.
Smith has welcomed the return of Mohoje but is careful to throw him into the deep end too soon.
“I’m excited to have Oupa (back), but you must keep in mind that he hasn’t played rugby for a long time,” Smith said at a press conference in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
“He’s relatively experienced, so we must also take a bit of pressure off him. The fact that he’s a Springbok doesn’t mean that he’s an experienced campaigner. He’s had very few games in the Currie Cup... it wouldn’t surprise me if this is his first.
“I’m happy to welcome him back. He’s going to play an important role in this campaign, like anybody else, but it’s good to (have him back), especially with Boom (Prinsloo) and Tienie (Burger) still to come back from injury.
“It’s really nice to have somebody as keen as he (Mohoje) is, to add to the team.”
The Cheetahs will be eager for an improved performance against the Bulls, having lost 57-19 to them in Bloemfontein in the first round of the competition.
Since then, the Cheetahs have improved as a team, and Smith is looking for more of the same this weekend.
“We’d like to control the controllables, and hopefully be able to measure how far we’ve grown in last four, five weeks.”
Free State's other Springbok training squad member not to make the Bok squad, wing Cornal Hendricks, was not considered this week.
Kick-off for Friday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria is scheduled for 19:10.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jan Serfontein
Free State Cheetahs:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 BG Uys
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21, Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Sias Ebersohn